Up-to-date products and announcements from the food and beverage sector

In the pink
Luxury gin brand, Old Curiosity, will be in the pink this Christmas with its first, colour-changing festive gin. Rather than the classic Christmas reds, this year the innovative distillery’s unique new tipple transforms from a festive blush to a vibrant pink when mixed with tonic water.

Only 500 bottles of the limited-edition gin are hitting the market. Priced at £49.95 per 500ml bottle, it is available to buy from Harrods or from Old Curiosity’s website. In addition, it is set to be a popular serve at The Balmoral Hotel’s Bar Prince in Edinburgh throughout the festive season.

The bespoke bottling gets its magical, colour-changing properties from a natural reaction which causes the PH levels of the gin to adjust when tonic is added. The gin is given a Christmas twist with ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, which are individually distilled and added to the base.

Book a date
What’s Christmas without dates? For those looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, London-based healthy snacks start-up Abakus Foods has unveiled a new range of Nut Stuffed Red Dates Snacks. These feature the superfruit Red Dates, each stuffed with crunchy almonds, nutty walnuts, creamy cashews, and a combination of mixed nuts for those who want them all. Red Dates, also known as jujube fruits, have been enjoyed for health and well-being in the Far East for thousands of years. The creamy and nutty flavour of the nuts complements the natural sweetness of the red dates, and makes a healthy nibble for the festive period.

Delightful dipping
Christmas is a time for entertaining, and for those looking for an alternative to the usual thousand island or garlic and herb offerings Merchant Gourmet has launched a brand-new range of dips. In-keeping with the brands’ pulses heritage, the range of dips are centred around delicious store cupboard ingredients, and its three flavours: Puy Lentil Dip with a Hint of Garlic, Beluga Lentil Dip with Aromatic Spices and Chestnut & Red Pepper Dip, will add an interesting twist to Christmassy nibbles. Two of them have already been shortlisted for the Quality Food Awards 2018 (Chestnut & Red Pepper, Beluga Lentil in the dips category).

Simply delicious Christmas
Simply Ice Cream, the luxury ice cream and kitchenware producer, has launched the Simply Ice Cream Christmas Gift Collections. Priced at £30, they include crockery from the Simply range, plus specially chosen products that accompany them, such as ice cream sauce, coffee or tea bags.

Simply Ice Cream has also launched its winter flavour – Mince Pie. The new flavour will join the winter collection which comprises two Great Taste two-star award winning favourites Christmas Pudding and Cinnamon.

The winter collection is priced individually at £4.99 and available in 500ml tubs from selected Waitrose, Morrisons and Coop as well as independent fine food stores, restaurants, farm shops, delicatessens, cafes, tea rooms and restaurants across Kent, Sussex, Essex, Surrey and London.

Festive snacking
To help its customers plan for a party for festive season, Corkers crisps has suggested the perfect drinks pairings to accompany its new and delicious olive oil range.

Corkers suggests serving its Mediterranean Cheese & Roasted Onion with Port wine, or its Black Truffle variety with Sparkling wine – choose a white wine with a medium body that will not overwhelm the black truffle olive oil crisp, says the company.

If you’re going for festive punch, then choose Corkers Rosemary & Garlic variety, which will help mute the sweetness of the punch. Finally, the old classic mulled wine pairs perfectly with Parsnip, Sweet Potato and Beetroot. These crunchy, strong flavours are just what you need to get in to the Christmas spirit!


Ginger spice
Giving the much-loved gingerbread-person a modern twist, Kelly’s of Cornwall new Limited Edition Sticky Gingerbread Ice Cream combines warm and spicy with chilled and creamy to create a big hit flavour sensation. The sweet and sticky ice cream is made with real Cornish clotted cream for a ridiculously indulgent taste and velvety smooth texture. Swirled through with moreish fudge pieces, it’s drizzled with rich toffee sauce before being topped with a sweet gingerbread crumb.

Christmas at Kew
Freixenet has announced its sponsorship of Christmas at Kew, which sees the brand taking part at the event for the second year running. The event runs from 21 November 2018 to 5 January 2019, and will invite guests to experience Freixenet’s ICE Garden, where a festive drinks van will be situated under Aquastell by Pitaya – a 50m installation made up of several dynamic lighting arches finishing in a 10m wide dome. The ICE Garden will serve winter-inspired 21ICE Cava cocktails from Freixenet branded drinks van.

Freixenet is also using the festive event to unveil its new packaging to consumers, with the sleek new linear design featured on the ICE Cava and Ice Rosé emulating the appearance of cracked sheets of ice. This new design showcases the brand’s premium nature and will be available to buy in stores from December.

Festive flavours
Belvoir Fruit Farms has introduced a raft of seasonal drinks as well as bringing about a return of the limited-edition Christmas label for its Elderflower Pressé which proved so popular last year. Boasting a jolly, holly illustration partnered with the brand’s iconic elderflower motif dressed to impress in festive, sparkling, golden foil, the label is completed with the cheerful seasonal message ‘Bubbling with Joy’.

The seasonal flavours include Belvoir Mulled Winter Cordial – an intense fruity blend of cranberry and orange juices complemented with warming winter spices and a touch of lime; and Belvoir Festive Fruit Punch – a fruity combination of the rich taste of real cranberry and orange juices, with a splash of blackcurrant and lime juice and the lingering hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, all blended with spring water so it’s ready to drink.

Other punch flavours include Mulled Winter Punch and Spiced Ginger Punch.

A jammy gift
Radnor Preserves’ exclusive gift box is being included in Marks & Spencer’s 2018 Gift & Hampers Christmas collection. Called ‘A Box of Three Delicious Radnor Preserves’, the tasty gift is available exclusively on the Marks & Spencer website and features Radnor Preserves’ award winning Pink Gin Marmalade, Clementine & Cointreau Marmalade and Raspberry & Crushed Cardamom Preserve, all of which are presented in a gold embossed red box.

Furthermore, Radnor Preserves continues to make a splash on the UK food and drink scene, most notably with a recent invitation to have a stall at Borough Market, the world acclaimed London food market, where the waiting list is normally three years.

Spice up your gin
The independent small batch Poetic License Distillery in the North East of England is evolving the name and presentation of its much loved ‘Fireside Gin’ to become ‘Spiced’.

The multi-award winning liquid remains the same; as well as the usual notes coming from juniper, coriander and orrisroot, Poetic License ‘Spiced’ delivers sweetness from dried winter fruits but also zingy freshness from clementine and warmth from the mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and star anise – embracing the flavours of Christmas!

Grace Noon, Marketing Manager at Poetic License Distillery commented on the relaunch: “We have decided to evolve the name of this wonderfully different gin to better communicate the flavour profile. The new bottle decoration is a beautiful combination of burgundy and gold foil, that is both differentiated and eye catching for fantastic stand out on shelf. This remains an exceptional gin for autumn and winter and makes an ideal Christmas gift for gin lovers.”

Whisky in style
Just in time for Christmas, the Suntory distillery in Japan has launched a limited-edition gift pack of Hibiki Japanese Harmony Whisky, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hibiki brand.

Packaged in a beautiful, specially designed bottle for Christmas inspired by the traditional kimono pattern, the Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a stunning gift for whisky drinkers and whisky newcomers alike. Hibiki Japanese Harmony is a blend of more than ten malt and grain whiskies, aged in five different casks from Suntory distilleries. With a honey-like sweetness, the nose reveals notes of rose, lychee and sandalwood, and its flavour brings out a palate of honey, orange peel and white chocolate.

Gin cheese?
Capturing the Christmas spirit in an unusual pairing, The Wensleydale Creamery has partnered with Masons Yorkshire Gin to produce a Yorkshire Wensleydale with Caramelised Orange & Masons Yorkshire Gin cheese – mouth-wateringly unusual and incredibly tasty! The on-trend flavours of orange and gin have blended perfectly with the Yorkshire Wensleydale, creating a deliciously indulgent flavour to be enjoyed by all cheese and gin lovers.
www.wensleydale.co.uk / www.masonsyorkshiregin.com

Chocolate heaven
Christmas needs chocolate, and for the real connoisseur and lover of something both luxurious and different, Paul A Young’s dazzling array of new chocolates celebrate the flavours of Christmas.

For 2018, Paul’s collection of filled chocolates has been inspired by past, present and future flavour combinations, and, as is to be expected from Paul, a handful of innovative chocolates that look to the future. These include the much-anticipated Cranberry and Goose Fat Caramel, the Buck’s Fizz Truffle and the California Prune, Churchill’s White Port & Stilton Truffle for the chocolate adventurous.

Further chocolates and truffles in the collection include Cinnamon Toast Truffle, Mulled Wine Truffle, Christmas Caramel Latte Truffle, Burning Embers chocolate, Hazelnut Caramel, Mince Pie Marzipan and the Mendient.

Paul A Young also offers a gifting selection, which in 2018 is inspired by his love of orange flavours, all in honour of a certain nostalgic Christmas favourite. These include Paul’s stunning metallic 72% dark or 38% milk Guittard chocolate Red Nosed Reindeer Bars, which will be flavoured with orange and mandarin essential oils, Paul’s Very Orangey Chocolate Segments, and the return of the incredibly popular, Limited Edition Confit Clementines. Brand new for 2018 is the exquisite Brandy Butter Ball Bombe, a beautiful domed dessert, made from Guittard 65% Madagascan chocolate, filled with layers of brandy butter, orange ganache and dark chocolate ganache and hand-decorated with delicate colours and edible snow.

No Paul A Young Christmas is complete without a mention of Paul’s Brownie Mince Pies, Paul’s award-winning fudgy brownie (regularly voted the Best in London) and buttery rich sweet pastry is filled with homemade cognac and ale soaked mincemeat. Heaven!